Banchory travelled to Ellon on a cold and windy day and turned in one of their best first half performances of the season.
Ellon were one point behind with two games in hand in the PMAC Superleague, so a win was vital for Saints to keep them in 6th place and create a bigger gap with the teams below them.
The scoreline suggests a close game, which in the end it was, but Banchory could have had the game sewn up on the hour mark, when at 3-0 up Richard Stainer missed a penalty but the game turned with the home side scoring two goals to give the Saints a scare.
Ellon opened creating an early half chance and then Saints’ Connor Scully got himself into a good position but shot wildly over.
Chris Irvine in the Banchory goal twice made vital saves with his legs, the first from a Walker angled shot and then from Craigie’s left foot shot.
Banchory were playing some good stuff against the wind and creating openings but frustratingly, were being caught offside in most of their attacks. Mark Galashan playing at left back was beginning to find some room coming forward and from his well drilled cross Scully just failed to reach the ball inside the six yard box.
Ellon’s Simpson tried his luck with a shot which was deflected and easily saved by Irvine, and then as Banchory were pushing for the opener Stainer’s turn and shot from 10 yards out went inches over the Ellon bar.
But on the half hour, Saints opened the scoring with a simple goal. Shaun Carrol swung in a floating free kick that everyone missed except STAINER who bundled the ball over the line at the back post.
Banchory pushed on looking for a second and five minutes later Ellon’s centre half McKinnon gifted the ball to Stainer but the Saints centre forward’s net bound effort was pushed round the post by Buchanan.
Ellon should have levelled the game on 40 minutes when Johnson had a clear sight of goal 15 yards out but blasted well over Irvine’s bar.
Stainer was in action again and another net bound low curling shot was touched round the post once again by Buchanan and from the corner the Ellon defence just managed to scramble the ball away.
In first half injury time and Carrol was brought down 25 yards out and the midfielder decided to have a go at goal at the free kick himself which turned out to be the best option as Buchanan was beaten all ends up with a terrific strike into the top corner.
Within eight minutes of the second half Banchory were 3-0 up.
A cross from the left found Scully but the forward missed the chance only for Ellon’s Buchanan to score an own goal with a strike into the top corner of his own net.
Then on 60 minutes Saints were awarded a penalty which the usually reliable Stainer took charge of taking, but his low shot to the keeper’s left was perhaps not struck well enough with Buchanan holding the ball well.
Minutes later Buchanan was in action again when he made a fine double save from Scully and Stainer.
At this stage Manager Sandy Carrol brought on Kevin Robertson in place of Scully and immediately the substitute found space on the right to fire in a low cross which everyone missed in the six yard box only to hit the far post and rebound to Stainer who could only manage to knock wide with his left foot.
Banchory were pushing forward looking for another goal to wrap up the game, but almost gifted a goal to Ellon when Scott Burke miskicked allowing Dargie through but the big centre forward struck well past.
However on 68 minutes it was Ellon who grabbed the next goal. A cross from a corner was poorly defended at the back post leaving McKinnon to head home unchallenged and redeem his own goal of the first half.
From this point the game completely changed with Ellon getting a lift and the Banchory players getting rathet jittery.
Ellon’s Walker was presented with a half chance but could only send his effort past the post, but with the home side gaining more confidence the next chance fell to Saints Carrol who went very close with a 30 yard effort that went inches over.
On 83 minutes a move down the Ellon right found left back Craib in the box and his first time keft foot shot was knocked past the far post when it seemed a goal was certain.
Four minutes later a rather harsh free kick against Carrol gave Ellon a free kick which was played down the right and from the resultant cross Walker bundled the ball into Banchory’s net after poor defending.
With three minutes remaining Cammy Gray replaced the tiring Campbell Watt.
Ellon’s Dargie saw his half volley go over from 10 yards, but Saints had the final effort of the game when substitute Gray was through on goal but his weak effort was easily saved by Buchanan.
Saints boss Sandy Carrol believes his side were worthy of the victory.
He said: “It was another good win for the lads in a fixture which was potentially quite tricky. Overall, I was pleased with the performance and we should have a full squad available for the trip to Hermes on Saturday in which should be a cracking game.”
Team: Irvine, Donald, Galashan, Burke, Morrison, Carrol, Pyper, McRae, Stainer, Scully (K.Robertson), Watt (Gray) Subs: Strachan, J.Robertson, Garrett, Sim.
This Saturday (December 10) Banchory travel to Bridge Of Don to take on league leaders Hermes in the PMAC Superleage, kick off 1.30pm. The following Saturday sees a longer trip to Forres Thistle for a pre-Christmas league game.
With neighbours Culter well behind in their eague schedule an additional League game has been arranged in the fixture list for Saturday 31st December. Weather permitting the game will go ahead at Milton Park, kick off 1.30pm.